Southern California Live Steamers, Inc. operates as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization under IRS rules and is a registered California non-profit corporation. All of the income for the operation of SCLS is derived by donations from its members, passengers and corporate sponsors, and thru fundraisers. SCLS does not charge the passengers for rides on public run days, though donations are accepted from our riders on public run days which is on the 1st Sunday and 3rd Saturday of each month. Funds received are used to pay SCLS expenses such as insurance, maintenance costs, facility upgrades, fuel, track repairs, future track projects, and other expenses. All SCLS members are City of Torrance volunteers and are not paid for their time expended on club projects or operations.
A BRIEF HISTORY
SCLS started in 1941 when meetings were held in members’ homes and once a month a run day was held at founding member Dick Jackson’s Beverly Hills backyard. In 1948 Walt Disney, Ollie Johnston, Martin and Irene Lewis of Little Engines Company joined the club. In 1949 the club started a larger club track in Lomita. There were 2 parallel loops of track each 700 feet long which circled around the little engines manufacturing facility, which was directly behind the Lewis residence.
One of SCLS’s mission is to celebrate the rich history of railroads in the City of Torrance, especially the BNSF Harbor Subdivision which traverses next to Wilson Park and the Union Pacific Railroad which also services industries in the Torrance area.
A NEW HOME IN WILSON PARK (2290 Washington Ave, Torrance, CA 90501)
In 1987, for the Torrance 75th anniversary event, the City of Torrance asked SCLS if they could set up a small track on the back end of Wilson Park. At the time this was a vacant lot, no trees and only weeds for vegetation. Considerable effort was expended by both the City and SCLS to prepare the area and lay the tracks necessary to run the trains. During the City’s 75th Anniversary Celebration in October 1987, the free train rides were so well received by the public that the City sought to have SCLS run the trains on a regular basis. On May 11, 1990, the City and SCLS entered into a 25-year License Agreement allowing SCLS to provide free train rides at Wilson Park on a regular basis. A new home was found!
ANOTHER 25 YEARS
The mini-train rides have become a popular feature of Wilson Park. Originally, free train rides were offered once a month on the first Sunday of each month. Today, SCLS provides free train rides twice a month on the first Sunday and third Saturday of each month, and on special occasions. The City and SCLS entered into another 25-year lease agreement thru May 11, 2040.